HE was “everyone’s friend” – a “happy-go-lucky” larrikin who was most comfortable in the company of strangers.
Tributes have poured in for popular Belmont man Barry Childs who was tragically killed in a pedestrian accident outside the Gunyah Hotel last week.
But as one community came to terms with their loss, another was waking up to the news of another life cut short, after a man aged in his 60s was struck by a car and died at the scene on Nelson Bay Road at Fullerton Cove about 9pm on Saturday. The female driver was uninjured.
It is the second pedestrian tragedy in the Hunter in less than a week after Mr Childs was hit by a ute as he crossed the Pacific Highway on Thursday.
A minute’s silence was held for the well-known 79-year-old at Belmont Sporties on Sunday.
Mr Childs’ daughter, Alison Tye, described her father as a “true blue Australian” who lived a nomadic lifestyle with his family, caravanning the country before settling in Seaforth, North Queensland, and later returning to Lake Macquarie.
A diesel mechanic by trade, Mr Childs used to work in the Wallarah Colliery at Catherine Hill Bay, and contributed to milestone projects the Snowy Hydro Scheme and construction of Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin.
Mrs Tye said “Bazza”, as he was affectionately known, had a “one-of-a-kind” sense of humour. “Only a few weeks ago he was waiting and waiting for a bus,” she said.
“It got to 45 minutes and the bus still hadn’t arrived.
“He went up to a lady at the lights, opened her door and asked for a lift to Belmont – she gave him a lift. That was who he was; a larrikin.”
She added: “It didn’t matter if you had not a buck to your name or were a millionaire, you were his friend.”
Son Gavin Childs recalled how there were always strangers around as his father would feel sorry for people stuck in the rain. “He took in campers who were in tents down at the caravan park,” he said. “He’d offer them a bed and a shower.”
Mr Childs said his dad was a brilliant mechanic. “He could fix anything,” he said. Former wife Carol Childs described him as the “life of the party”.
Mr Childs fathered four children and leaves behind three grandchildren.
Police investigations into both accidents were ongoing. The man who died at Fullerton Cove had not been identified on Sunday.
Witnesses were urged to phone Crime Stoppers.
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